What’s for Dinner? Cooking for Real People Part 3: Planning a Grocery List

Welcome back!  Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

Task 3: Your task this post is to make a grocery list of all the items you need to buy for your weekly meal plan.  What items are already in your pantry?

I find the hardest part in meal planning is preparing your grocery list.  If you are like me, and you don’t have time to buy your groceries throughout the week, you need a game plan before heading out to the store. I tend to buy 4-5 days worth of food all on Sunday.  This way I do not have to worry during the week.  When I first started buying my own food, I would either end up with too much food or too little food. It is still hard to gauge but you start getting an idea of how much you consume each week.

An example of what I buy in one week: (yes don’t  judge, we eat a lot. Remember I bring leftovers for lunch.) This list will be enough to feed 2-3 adults for lunch and dinner.

  • 1-2 bunches of bananas (for smoothies)
  • 2-3 apples (for smoothies)
  • fruits for snacking (mandarin oranges, pears, grapes)
  • 3 medium sized heads of broccoli
  • 1 bag of bok choy
  • 1 large box of spinach salad
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 4 onions
  • 5 carrots
  • 5 sticks of celery
  • bottle of pre-peeled garlic (if we don’t have any in the pantry)
  • 2 family packs of chicken (thighs or breast depending on the meal)
  • 1 pork roast or other meat
  • 1 jug of orange juice
  • 1 carton of unsweetened coconut milk
  • any breakfast food you need

Pantry items that we have in stock and will buy when we run out

  • rice (brown, basmati, white rice)
  • flour
  • spices
  • oils ( olive oil, canola, sesame)
  • sauces (salsa, soya sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, hoisin sauce etc)
  • vinegar (balsamic, white, apple cider, chinese black)
  • Potatoes
  • Canned whole tomatoes
  • Boxes of chicken and beef stock
  • Pasta, noodles 
  • Nuts

Tip 1: When you buy an item, think about how much you can eat. An example could be for chicken, broccoli and rice.  I typically eat 1 chicken thigh, 1 cup of broccoli and 1 cup of rice. What I would buy for myself is 1 head of broccoli, and one package of chicken. (you can always freeze extra chicken or save it for another meal). Visualizing the amount you can eat is extremely helpful because it usually means you wont buy too much. Also it is helpful to have a recipe so that you have exact amounts of items.

 Tip 2:  As I am planning my menu for the week I start writing items down on my list.  I like using an app on my phone to record the items.  I am currently using the Out of Milk app since you can share it. If you start checking off items from your list, any shared members should also see those changes.  (You will need data for this) You can also reuse your items from previous weeks and make categories so it helps you move around the store efficiently. For example you can group all the vegetables together, meat together, dry foods, etc. 

Tip 3:  Check your refrigerator and pantry before heading to the store.  You might already have something leftover from the previous week.  No need to buy too much because you will have to throw it away when it goes bad. Or you might end up with 5 bottles of soya sauce. (yes true story) On the other hand you might be low on a pantry item (eg oil,. ).  However throughout the week as I am cooking and if I know I will be running out of an item, I enter it on my list.  

Tip 4:  Take pictures of your pantry and fridge/freezer.  So if you dont remember what you have you can just look at your pictures in the store.  Hopefully you are organized so it is easy for you to find you items in the pictures.

I hope these tips help you with your grocery list.  Try it next time you head out to the store. Let me know how helpful the tips were in the comments. If you want more tips like this just comment below. 

If you liked this, check out our other posts: https://eatitnoworeatitlater.com/recipes-list/

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